Thursday, June 4, 2009

Victorian "Don'ts"

The Bunch of Lilacs
The Bunch of Lilacs Art Print
Tissot, James
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A list of dressing "don'ts" from women's magazines of the 1880's.

"Don't adopt the latest mode.
Don't trail your dress upon the road.
Don't ever lace your waist too tightly.
Don't wear a glove or boot unsightly.
Don't wear a thing that needs repair.
Don't, please, forget to brush your hair.
Don't ever wear too large a check.
Don't show too much of snowy neck."

"Don't above all things, forget you are a woman; she is far more attractive when seen in the flowing draperies that centuries of use have made their own, than when masquerading as a man."

Girl and Roses
Girl and Roses Art Print
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Here are a few more "don'ts," some of which are highly amusing, and some of which still make sense today:

Don't forget that dress was made for woman,
and not woman for dress.

Don't, unless you have a very long purse, buy
startling and conspicuous garments, of which you
will become heartily tired before they are worn out.

Don't invest largely in "desperate bargains" and
"immense reductions," which are so temptingly
displayed at sale times. In many cases they are a
delusion and a snare.

Don't slavishly copy the costumes of your dearest
friends. You have something individual in your
appearance which must be emphasised into person-
ality, that will cover, if necessary, a multitude of

Don't buy anything without due reference to
your other garments. Things bought in a hurry
are seldom satisfactory, and generally turn out
veritable white elephants.

Don't wear an old bonnet and mantle with a new
dress ; neither, on the other hand, let an old dress
be seen in company with your best outdoor apparel.

Don't always appear in the bosom of your
family in your shabbiest clothes because " they
are so much more comfortable."

Don't have many dresses at a time. Let
" quality, not quantity," be the motto of your

Don't neglect to put a certain amount of thought
and care into the smallest details of your toilet.

Don't jump into your clothes and expect to look

Don't, dear sisters, don't imagine that a blouse or
skirt, coat and sailor hat, are suitable for every age
and figure on every occasion.

Don't wear a sailor hat after your fortieth year.

Don't clothe yourself in man's apparel and expect
the courtesy due to a lady.

Don't wear feathers in your hat and patches on
your boots.

Don't gaily cover your head and forget your
hands and feet.

Don't forget that though veils are becoming to
most faces, feet veiled in lace stockings do not look
well in the street.

Don't pinch your waist : fat, like murder, will
out somewhere.

Don't put all your allowance outside. A ragged
petticoat kills the smartest gown.

Don't wear a white petticoat unless it is white.

Don't put cost before cut. Corded silk won't
cover a clumsy fit.

Don't be dashing ; be dainty.

Don't dress to startle people's eyes, but to satisfy

Don't imagine beauty will atone for untidiness.

Don't, if you are September, dress as May.

Don't sacrifice neatness to artistic effect.

Don't dress more fashionably than becomingly.

Don't wear a fur or feather boa with a cotton
dress or skirt.

Don't wear striped materials if you are tall.

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